Men Who Wear Frocks

Some guys wear dresses. Why? 



“Vivienne” is what one cross-dressing man calls himself when he’s in drag. Vivienne also blogs on her cross-dressing experience over at BluestockingBlue, where she seeks to understand why she does it.

Before delving into Vivienne’s musings, let’s do a little Transvestite 101.

First, you might be surprised to learn that most cross-dressers, a.k.a. transvestites, are straight men.

Straight men?

While biological males who are transgendered or transsexual don’t see themselves as men, transvestites do. They are men who are trying to express something of the feminine within, which is so often submerged. And, cross-dressing often holds a sexual appeal for them.

That appeal helps explain why they’re usually straight. These guys are turned-on by women, and for them, dressing like one can be arousing.

Now back to Vivienne, who wrote a four-part series on a documentary called “Why Men Wear Frocks.” The film was produced by British artist, and tranny,  Grayson Perry. To read more, start with Part 1 on her site.


The morning after The Miss Rose Beauty Pageant, Grayson Perry mused,

Time to pack the frocks away again. It can seem quite cruel going back to the toughty-roughty world of men after being in the company of some rather lovely ones…

What is it about being a man today that makes some men so desperate to be women?

Actually, Mr. Perry has some thoughts on that:

It’s just that the acceptable range you can display as a man is quite narrow… 

Feelings aren’t intrinsically male or female. But you wouldn’t know that from the imagery we see around us. It is this apartheid of the emotions that transvestites are rebelling against.

Vivienne can relate her own cross-dressing to combating this “apartheid.” She was also struck by Mr. Perry’s phrase, “carapace of masculinity.” She says,

“Carapace of masculinity” is a very powerful expression. I can’t help thinking of people like Jan Hamilton, who tried to crush her femininity by becoming uber-masculine, a special forces soldier. It didn’t work; or to be more correct it worked for a while but made her profoundly unhappy. Hamilton is, however, an extreme case. I wonder how many genuinely sensitive men hide their feelings behind badges of masculinity (bikes, trucks, guns, tattoos, football) because they feel they cannot do otherwise?

Carapace: a hard shell.

Hard, lacking softness.

“A shell” evokes “nothing but a shell,” as if something is lacking.

A shell. Protective. But what from? The feminine?

When men, Jan Hamilton or any of us forbid our feminine side we crush half of who they are — a significant part of our humanity.

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry

Perry reflects:

My own view is that some transvestites seek out archetypes of femininity (the schoolgirl, the maid, the bride)… 

Dresses are symbols of vulnerability and innocence and submissiveness and things that men don’t have access to. There’s something about putting on a dress that instantly gives me permission to act out those feelings.

By donning feminine costume trannies take on a role and get in touch with the vulnerable, playful, carefree girl inside themselves, or the desirable, sexy young thing, or the fawned-over Princess bride.

Vivienne says,

I pursue cross-dressing partly to escape from the masculine expectations placed upon me, in part because of the dearth of emotional expression open to men.

It all reminds me of Norah Vincent’s book, “Self-Made Man.” Norah spent 18 months passing as a man, expecting to enjoy the privileged male sphere. In the end she felt stifled in self-expression and more than happy to exit that straightjacket.

I doubt cross-dressing is the only route to making men whole, and Mr. Perry doubts it too. More on that later. And more later on the sexual allure of cross-dressing.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
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My Son Likes Girl-Things. Is He Gay?
Flip Gender, Flip Ways of Seeing

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on October 16, 2013, in feminism, gender, LGBTQ+, men, psychology, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. I think it does go back to sexual objectification. Someone mentioned that certain articles of women’s clothing, especially the frilly, showy, or provocatively ‘sexy’ ones, are more like a ‘costume’ that express hypersexuality. Thus, they sort of facilitate the sexual objectification of women. They accentuate certain body parts, or attempt to make the woman move/walk more ‘seductively’, i.e. high heels. I think since like you say Georgia, our culture does not tend to objectify or see men as sexy as often, these men just want to express that need to FEEL sexy, not merely consume sexiness, which I think is intrinsic in all of us, women AND men. I actually think the fact that most men in the 21st century west are exclusively heterosexual, unlike in some other periods/cultures, where bisexuality was the norm, means they do not openly experience that strong masculine desire for them. Of course women can provide that to an extent, but it’s still not quite the same. In the same way some women have expressed a need for the tender type of love they feel only a female can provide. I’m not saying all people need that (consciously or otherwise), but its an interesting perspective.

    • Interesting perspective indeed. How do you suppose this applies to men whose specific narrow field of interest lies in much younger girls? Japanese schoolgirl and so-called “lolita” dresses are surprisingly popular among crossdressers who are obviously more into the fetish than the “I want to be a woman” side of things.

  2. Ralph, I agree with you. While I prefer feminine over masculine, I’m not defined by that, it’s a part of me, but I also have a masculine side. I’ve taken several online (unscientific) personality quizzes, and they all show 65-70% feminine/ 30-35% masculine. I too, am a father with two teenage boys, a wonderful wife (our family matriarch), and I run a successful business.

    While I may wear some women’s clothing, it’s not the focus of my life. Apart from panties, I also wear very plain women’s jeans, tennis shoes (they’re a bit more funky than guy’s tennis shoes), different color Swatches, etc. And yes, I sleep in a gown. But I don’t wear anything that will give people a cause to turn around and say that’s a guy in girl’s clothing. I’m not trying to catch anyone’s attention, To the contrary, I do just what feels right for me.

    What I enjoy even more are the feminine rituals that I have adopted such as moisturizers, yoga, magazines, decor, flowers, gardening, etc. It is through these activities that I feel my feminine spirit more so than through any clothing. My home definitely has a feminine feel, and if you went inside, you would think that it belonged to single woman, not a married man. While my bike is a unisex model, most people would say it’s a girl’s bike. I also tend to wear unisex fragrance such as ‘green tea’, instead of strictly masculine scents.

    What I like the most however, is what my wife taught me, which was to be nurturing. For example, when our kids were small, she made put them to bed every night as she was with them during the day and this gave me a special time to bond. It’s something that I will always appreciate.

    And Broadblogs, I’m really looking forward to next Wednesday’s post…

    • Psychological studies have found that people who are able to be in touch with both the masculine and feminine sides of their personalities are the most healthy. They aren’t repressing important parts of their humanity, and they have a lot of emotional resources.

      • Sometimes the question the validity of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ traits anyway. I think while yes, some traits often apply more to male or females, we all, or most of us, have both male and female ‘energies’, yin and yang, or rather, traits that modern western sociology or psychology or even biology considers more typical of one gender. Rather, these are all facets of the human experience in all it’s broadness, and males who cross-dress just want to express traits which are already within them that the world sees as the sole preserve of females.

      • That’s what I was saying. We all have these energies. But more of them get repressed in men. And because some are repressed in men/ or encouraged in them — and same with women — you get social patterns such that men are more likely to express certain types of things, And women others. Even though we all have all of these energies within us. I would like to see a society in which everyone felt free to express their authentic selves.

      • Indeed. While ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ both play a role imo, I do feel a lot of what we think of as just innate or biological might not be as much as we think. I remember reading (sorry I can’t remember the source it was a long time ago) that in some traditional cultures, swearing, telling jokes, including lewd jokes, and being raucous and more socially rambunctious was associated with and see as a WOMEN’S activity.

  3. I guess I don’t understand why having a preference for feminine things necessarily makes one a crossdresser. Women wear pants, flannel shirts, etc. and are not called crossdressers (although they may be called dykes/butches). Isn’t it ok to be outside of the normal gender boundaries established by the patriarchy? Do men have to be macho and women Barbie dolls? I think not. We’re all individuals, and I just happen to prefer so-called feminine things more than masculine things…and it’s not just clothing…Like I said I enjoy pedicures (with French tips), I enjoy drinking tea or wine instead of beer and whiskey, I had the powder room in my home painted lavender with a beautiful chandelier simply because I like it that way. I enjoy so called ‘chick flicks’ more than action films. I’m the only guy in my yoga/pilates class and it doesn’t bother me (actually I prefer it that way!).

    • Like I said, that’s my guess, I’m not a total expert on this. Seems to me that whether or not you are has more to do with how you see yourself. If you choose to see yourself as a cross-dresser – in an extremely mild form – you could do so because you share this characteristic with cross-dressers: cross-dressers wear feminine things in an attempt to be in touch with their feminine side/their whole humanity. And I see nothing wrong with doing so, or with labeling yourself as a cross dresser.

      But I also don’t think it’s mandatory if you feel like it doesn’t quite fit who you are. You are just a guy who is expressing his full self.

      And as I said in the post,”I doubt cross-dressing is the only route to making men whole.”

      I feel that men should be able to behave however they want, express themselves however they want, and simply be seen as men. I’ve actually already scheduled a post for next Wednesday on the fact that men could easily take on feminine types of things but they typically choose not to– And why that is.

    • Well, I can argue that from both sides. As I said above, we (particularly me, since I go much further with the dresses and hosiery but stop short of actually trying to look like a woman) do fill the technical definition of crossdresser by wearing clothes designated — however stupidly arbitrary — as being intended for the opposite sex.

      On the other hand: I bowl occasionally, but I do not consider myself a bowler. I enjoy banging out a few notes on the piano, but I would never say I am a pianist. I do, however, consider myself a computer programmer, because it’s what I do for a living (and have done so for over 30 years). I consider myself a father, because even though my children are grown and on their own now, they will always be entangled in my heart as an integral part of my life.

      See the difference? My self-identity comes not from something I do occasionally — or even frequently — as a convenient but disposable means of coping. I could, with great difficulty, stop crossdressing. Heck, I stop crossdressing every time I go to the doctor or share a hotel room on a business trip with someone. But I could never stop being a husband or father or Christian or even computer programmer; my innermost being comes from those parts of my life.

      There are certainly those for whom crossdressing DOES define their lives, and they are glad of it. They are the ones who would rather give up a relationship than the crossdressing, whose every idle moment is spent on activities and thoughts related to crossdressing — what to wear, where to shop, practice walking and talking and behaving more feminine, etc.

      I am not one of them, and clearly you are not either. So in the strictest clinical definition we may be crossdressers, but by the same token we don’t define our lives by crossdressing, so we aren’t really crossdressers any more than I am a pianist.

  4. I’m not sure whether you would classify me as a crossdresser or not. I don’t wear dresses, skirts, bras, etc., but I do wear woman’s panties, and I enjoy getting a pedicure. All my life I wore very drab colors (brown, olive green, khaki, etc.). But then, about 15 years ago, I realized that I just felt more comfortable with feminine things than I do masculine things. I think the drab colors were a way of hiding this, but at some point it just felt right accepting that I prefer feminine things. I’m happily married, and definitely not gay…I just like feminine things and have grown to accept that. My wife says that she “not only loves me in spite of my quirks, but also because of my quirks”. So even if she’s not thrilled, I really appreciate her acceptance.

    By the way, I also use moisturizers, watch lifetime (instead of ESPN), and consider Super Bowl Sunday as the best time of the year to go to Barnes and Noble. I would rather read Marie Claire than Guns and Ammo any day!!

    So I guess at some point I began to feel somewhat comfortable escaping from societal imposed gender norms to some degree. Not only are panties comfortable (I really like Chantelle), they are a form of accepting myself in a private, not in your face fashion.

    • I guess you are a cross-dresser, wearing some women’s clothing and seeking expression for your feminine side, but in an extremely mild form. Can’t say I’m a total expert on this, that’s just my sense.

    • Uxorious, sounds like your wife and mine have been talking. Exactly the attitude I get from my wife! Your avoidance of male stereotypes is also right up my alley — I prefer luxurious hot bubble baths to showers, romantic comedies to body-count action thrillers, and pretty much anything to sports and hunting.

      Which puts me at a conversational disadvantage here in the rural midwest where all my friends are ranchers who hunt every year and go nuts over football. “So, uh, are any of y’all excited that Carrie Fisher is going to be in the new Star Wars? Anybody?”

      As our beloved hostess suggests, you’re definitely a crossdresser — embrace it, don’t be ashamed! It’s a “broad” (ha, see what I did there?) term to cover any preference for clothes designed for the opposite sex. You don’t have to want to be a woman to be a crossdresser; you don’t have to put on the whole nine yards with makeup and bra and wig and breast forms etc. etc. etc. You just need to enjoy the softer side of life, in whole or in part.

      PS – If you think panties are more comfortable, get yourself a couple of nylon (for summer) or satin/flannel (for winter) nightgown 😉

  5. This phenomenon is very interesting to me. The way in which we dress seems so normal and regular, but when you step back and examine it, it really is strange that we follow such strict guidelines made by society. If I saw a man walking down the street wearing a dress, I would instantly be confused and think it was weird. But why shouldn’t he wear a dress? If I can wear pants, why can’t he wear a dress? The fact that we stick to these rigid rules and judge those who stray is very negative and needs to be changed. Whether it be for sexual pleasure, style choices, or simply liking the freedom of a dress, a man should be able to make clothing choices without judgement. The same goes for everyone else, and in every aspect of life beyond just clothes.

  6. I found this article to be very informative. I did not know that most transvestites are straight men. It’s interesting to note that women are able to dress more like men, such as slacks and a button up shirt and it does not stand out much. In addition, it often achieves the desired effect of receiving more respect. When men dress like women it comes across as more shocking. Perry said, “Dresses are symbols of vulnerability and innocence and submissiveness and things that men don’t have access to.” It is as though the man is willing to give up his respected status in order to become vulnerable. Our society is so focused on being powerful that we are not accustomed to desiring the opposite.

    • Ginny, I’ve heard a theory on that and I think it has some merit.

      One would think that in our enlightened age, no rational, civilized person would consider women inferior in any way to men. One would also be wrong, for the bulk of society.

      We may never admit it to ourselves; nobody would ever say it out loud even if they are consciously aware of it. But through millennia of cultural training, we (I’m speaking of society in general, not you and I specifically) still see males as a step up from females.

      So. When a woman dresses like a man, takes on jobs normally associated with men, acts like a man (assertive, self-reliant, etc.) society sees her as improving herself, and admire that ambition. When a man dresses like a woman, takes on jobs normally associated with a woman (think of how people react to male nurses and male flight attendants), show a personality more like a woman (sensitive, nurturing, etc.) society looks down on him, sees him as degrading himself. People have no respect for a man who “only” wants to be a woman.

      I wish I were wrong about this, but I don’t think I am.

  7. Let me muddy the water a bit more and contradict Jessica’s contradiction of your use of terms. In my experience, no two subgroups use terms like “crossdresser” and “transvestite” and “transgender” to mean the same thing. There *is* no standard definition. For me, crossdresser and transvestite are interchangeable as they are just English and Greek translations, respectively, of *exactly the same word* — and it simply means people who are wearing clothes intended for the opposite sex, without any attachment to motivation.

    Which brings me to my next topic: motivation. It’s a common mistake to assume that all crossdressers wish to express themselves as women, or all do it to fulfill a sexual fantasy, or whatever. I myself serve as a counterexample to the common stereotypes of what drives a man to put on a dress. I absolutely do NOT wish to be, or be treated as, or feel, like a girl. Nor do I derive sexual pleasure out of what I wear. I just like the clothes. No bras, no wigs, no makeup, no breast forms, no nail polish, not even shaving… I’m truly a gorilla in a frock.

    Now having said that, I’ll admit two things: Those who just like wearing dresses but still express themselves as men are an extremely small minority of the larger crossdressing world, and I’m aware there are some deeper psychological issues going on beneath the surface. If I just liked women’s clothes better, I’d go to Walmart and grab whatever trendy fashion I can find off the rack. But instead, I have a longing to wear styles outdated by decades or centuries. Forget that smart all-cotton mini with matching belt… give me a billowy dress in satin or velvet that envelopes me from neck to toe. Give me Laura Ingalls’ modest homespun prairie dress or sixty pounds of ruffles and layers in a Victorian day dress. Why? It must be satisfying some inner need; I have spent some 40 years trying to understand what and I no longer really care. I only know that when I come home from a trip into town, I can’t relax until I get that dull t-shirt and those stiff, constricting jeans off and slip into a soft dress with a full skirt.

    Anyhow, I just mention all that by way of saying that whatever your views on crossdressers are, they don’t apply to all of us.

    • Hmmm, actually your experience does seem to fit into wanting to feel like an old-fashioned girl, of some sort. Correct me if you think that’s wrong. But the gendered aspect of it seems glaring.

      • No, you may be entirely correct… Grayson Perry’s comments about wanting to experience the vulnerability, innocence, even submissiveness struck a chord with me.

        Perhaps I’m trying to have it all — those feelings PLUS the identification as a man, in all my sloppy, overcompetetive, Neanderthal glory.

        Hmmmm, now I wonder how all that ties in with the fact that I am strongly attracted to women who are confident, competent, and assertive — and bonus points if they LOOK vulnerable. It’s almost as though I seek out dissonance.

      • Well, cross-dressers tend to have a strong identity as male, even as the clothing helps them to get in touch with male&female emotions that have been assigned to women and denied in men.

        Psychologists say that people with an androgynous personality are the healthiest. Those are people who are high in both male and female traits. These folks have access to a wide range of emotions and capabilities. Sounds to me like that’s what you may be seeking.

        And maybe you are attracted to women who are also androgynous: in touch with a wide range of their feelings, too.

        So I do think that you are trying to have it all. But that you should be trying to do that, too.

        By the way, I often hear actors say that when they put on their costumes that’s when they can really get in touch with their character. I suspect cross-dressers are doing the same thing in terms of really getting in touch with the feminine side of human emotions.

  8. This is a very interesting post. After reading it, it gave me a better understanding of the differences between a drag queen and a transvestite. I just assumed that they were all the same and they all liked men, but when I read the post learning about how transvestite are straight it gave me a better understanding in the world I’m not familiar with. For me, to see a man or hear about a man dress in a dress or girl products I don’t see anything wrong with it. In fact I support it. I think it great for a man to get in touch with their feminine side instead of being rude and mean all the time. I hate it when I hear people saying it wrong and not right when men dress like women or even the other way around when girls wear guy’s clothes. I mean it’s not hurting anyone, we shouldn’t judge anyone on what there wear, but unfortunately we can’t change everyone’s minds on this subject all we can do is show support.

  9. You may want to check your facts a little bit, by which i mean mainly definitions. A transvestite gets arousal from dressing in women’s clothing. A cross-dresser just refers to the act of wearing women’s clothing – nothing more. For many men, if not most, cross-dressing has nothing at all to do with sexual arousal like you suggest. Also, the term “tranny” whilst is a shortened term for a transvestite, is also a widely used offensive term. I personally am a cross-dresser and have been called a tranny many many times and every time it has been meant as an insult. I do, however, applaud you for your blog post though, bringing the subject some more limelight and educating people on the subject is exactly what is needed for wider acceptance.

    • While it’s possible that what you say may be true for some subgroups, it clearly isn’t true for others. Vivienne and Grayson Perry both call themselves cross-dressers and describe themselves as getting aroused by cross-dressing. And in fact I’ve seen the exact opposite data from what you suggest: that most men who cross-dress get sexually aroused from it. See Vivienne’s blog for instance. Even cross-dressing students in my classes have told me the same thing.

      However, I changed the word “typically” to “often” because it occurs to me that the word I first used could overstate the matter.

      Mr. Perry also uses the word tranny, as do other cross-dressers/transvestites that I know of. I suspect the reason why some refer to themselves as “trannies” is the same reason that many in marginalized groups take on words that have been used against them. If you take a word that has been used against you and use it yourself in a positive way, it loses its negatively charged power, and can even become a term of endearment. That said, this strategy can be controversial. And so gays often embrace the word queer, many women embrace the word bitch, and many blacks use the N-word as a term of endearment for each other. Others in these groups are not so please by all this.

  10. This post makes me think of a Madonna song which starts with the lyrics: “Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, ’cause it’s OK to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, ’cause you think that being a girl is degrading. But secretly you’d love to know what its like, wouldn’t you?” Aside from pointing out the double standard of what you are allowed to dress like, I think the lyrics allude to another part of what makes cross-dressing appealing to some men. Besides being able to express the feminine sides of your personality, cross-dressing might give you a very intimate insight into what it’s like to live like women. From that perspective, it is certainly not difficult to see how it can be sexually arousing for straight men to cross-dress. For example, if you’re a straight or bi female, just imagine how it would be to be able to gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to actually be a man, or in a man’s body. I can see how that would be exciting. I think the taboo part also plays into the arousing aspect of cross-dressing.

  11. Paola Hernandez

    I think any man or woman should fulfill their inner desire to be more feminine or masculine. Whether its putting on a full costume or just sharing emotions more often. If women could choose to be more masculine by being a “tomboy” then a man has every right to try to be more girly by putting on a skirt or applying some lipstick. Although I don’t think a man should have to go as far as being “drag” just to be a bit more feminine , there are plenty of more ways of doing so. But at the end of the day it’s what everyone’s more comfortable and happy with.

  12. I heard from my friends who were talking about their friend, who is a marred guy and loves to wear all types of women clothing. His wife doesn’t mind but still hasn’t accepted that he should be able to wear what he want and when he want in public even though she and rest of society still expect him to accept that she can wear whatever she wants whenever she wants to? I feel like on the basis of gender equality, there’s a lot left to be desired. A lot of guys seem to be starting to wear dresses, so I think eventually, even if it takes a few decades to become completely accepted, it’ll be quite common. I think men are too limited on the topic of clothing. People should wear what they want without having their sexual orientation put into question. So if men wear skirts or dresses shouldn’t be a big deal because they are only cloths.

  13. It is really quite sad that men themselves feel that they cannot express their feelings and can only do so by changing their image to that of the opposite sex… No one is telling them that they cannot be vulnerable and sensitive and sexy, yet they only feel this way while dressing in drag? I guess it’s a good thing that they found some kind of outlet for these feelings. Kind of confusing how just “being themselves” and letting out their inner thoughts arouses them, though. But who are we to tell them it’s wrong? Cross-dressing has such a stigma probably because no one sees the positive effects it for the cross-dressers themselves.

  14. This is quite confusing for me to be honest. I do not quite get why straight men would like to cross dress like women to attract women. And simply the fact that some women like this. I’m not being judgmental or anything but I simply wish to understand how and why do men get aroused by this action. I think to myself that it might be that a lot of people have that odd pet peeve and they simply like things like that. I just wish to know beyond what is seen, for both women and men. For example, what men feel when they cross dress like women and what women feel when they see that action being presented. Of course some women will feel uncomfortable and will be hard to understand as well but there are some that just like that. Makes me think that if this is such a case with men cross dressing as well as it being a case with women cross dressing like men. Will it be the same effect? Will straight men find that attracting?

    • Maybe you’re confused in part because cross-dressers aren’t trying to attract women. They get aroused by THEMSELVES in drag. I’ll write about this more in a later post. Women aren’t attracted by this. Women, like spouses, often are uncomfortable with cross-dressing men.

  15. I think a man should be allowed to express his feminine side however is most comfortable for him. If that means putting on a dress and make up, so what? I think western culture is so obsessed with everyone being “normal” that anyone that deviates from the norm is ostracized and thought of as “weird” or “gay” etc.

  16. see “autogynephilia.”

  17. With no disrespect to anyone. Men are cowards you should be who you are no matter what. A dress or other thing should not change that maybe I am misunderstanding but I was raised by nothing but woman and i may have some feminine ways but I love woman and I dont feel I have to dress like one to be in touch with my feminine side. Again no offense to anyone.

  18. hi there!!!
    this topic is so close to my heart.. wearing woman’s clothes.. wrote about it in one of my blogs.. somewhat related to your writing.. have a look.. “Feminine Side”..

  19. there was a person in my past that I had met and had actually conveyed to me that at certain times they like to wear these women articles . I guess the subject came up because I saw a woman’s bra and then eventually found some underwear then I found a Teddy and I questioned him on it. he stated that he kept these articles for when he was alone and he like to put them on his body and it made him feel like a woman was next to him. of course I didn’t believe him and I automatically assumed this man had some homosexual tendencies . But after reading this article I guess maybe he might have been telling some of the truth I’m not sure. I never knew that there could be such a thing as trying to delve in that area and not actually being a homosexual .

  20. Hi, really interesting post. I’m sorry, I might seem pedantic by saying this, but is it right to say a transvestite is in drag? I’m sorry to ask, I obviously know there are drag queens, and indeed kings. Can transvestites be classed as “in drag”? Anyway, nice to read. Best wishes

    • Well I’m not sure whether I said “transvestite in drag” or if you were asking a general question (I would need to read my post again). Sounds redundant to me, though. But I would say something like “why do transvestites dress in drag?”

  21. This has been a lightbulb moment for me. It is slightly off-topic because I’m female but I think it is a similar situation. I wear skirts a lot so I notice how “masculine” women’s everyday fashion is. (btw I live in Ireland.) Most women I encounter on a day-to-day basis are wearing trousers and dull colours/patterns. Sometimes I feel really conspicuous wearing a floral skirt down the High Street. Are women also struggling under a masculine carapace? It explains why I am so attracted to the world of Japanese Lolita fashion and suchlike. My inner frilly is fighting for freedom.

    • Makes a lot of sense to me. If women dress like men they are, if anything, increasing their status. In a world where men are “gender ranked” higher than women.

      I am a feminist and teach women’s studies and I wear a lot of frilly dresses too – though I do mix it up. I agree with the cultural feminists who feel that it’s kind of male-centered to just wear masculine things. (And then have such dull clothes that I feel a bit sorry for them.) But I feel that part of feminism is to celebrate that which is associated with women.

      • “If women dress like men they are increasing their status.” Ah, that’s why I can’t get a job any more. I’ve become too frilly to be taken seriously. 😉

      • It’s true, frilly clothing doesn’t really symbolize “serious hard worker.”

        In fact, before capitalism most people – including men – wore frills. You can see men wearing ruffles and lace, for instance – if less so than women’s clothing. With capitalism man started changing their style to something that looked much more drab and serious. Women, on the other hand, were free to continue wearing what they had always worn since they were much less likely to be in the workforce. In fact, women were expected to keep their frills and act as a haven from the harsh world once men got home. And then women were demeaned for being so concerned with fashion and frills – even though they were expected to at the same time! I’ll have to write about this in a blog post sometime.

      • I’ll look forward to that. 😀

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